2017 Ontario Public Library Service Awards Short List Nominees

The 2017 short list nominees for the Minister’s Award for Innovation and the Angus Mowat Award of Excellence are:

Aurora Public Library

Digital Literacy for Community

The goal of the Digital Literacy for Community Project was to ignite a passion for STEM learning in our community and to help Aurorans develop the skills needed to succeed in a digital economy. The project offered young residents the opportunity to gain these skills by extending Aurora Public Library’s strong tradition of supporting literacy and numeracy to focus on digital literacy. It demonstrated that everyone has the capacity to learn to code, and encouraged participants to embrace technological skills as fun and rewarding. From there, a career path geared to the digital economy is a viable choice.

Clarington Public Library

Winter WonderLearn

Winter WonderLearn is in its 15th year of providing free, interactive, and educational experiences with community partners. Hosted on Family Day Monday, it is an anticipated event in the community and showcases the value of libraries as a connector.

Cochrane Public Library

Cochrane Public Library Outreach Program

The Cochrane Public Library has an outreach program which aims to supply residents and current library card holders of the community with materials during times in which they cannot get to the library. Patrons can call in their requests, which in turn are packaged up by library staff and delivered to their door by volunteers. When the patron is finished with their materials, the library is contacted and a volunteer returns the items for the patron.

County of Brant Public Library

Place Settings: Collected Works Celebrating the County of Brant

This project illustrates how public libraries grow and foster community engagement. Entirely produced by local citizens with a passion for their community but no budget, Place Settings: Collected Works Celebrating the County of Brant is a volume of non-fiction writing selected by a blind jury of community members and librarians under the direction of the Library’s 2016-17 Writer-in-Residence. Both a physical version and an electronic version enhanced with audio recordings were made, making it accessible to the greatest number of readers.

County of Prince Edward Public Library

Summer Fun Construction Zone

When Picton’s Main Street was scheduled for a summer-long closure, many downtown businesses worried about the decrease in both automotive and pedestrian traffic. Barbara Sweet, CEO of the County of Prince Edward Public Library and Archives, saw opportunity. An outdoor “construction zone” play area was developed with assistance from the local hardware store and the construction company responsible for the work. Free children’s books were available, and jokes and construction signage were displayed from the temporary fencing provided by the company doing the construction.

East Gwillimbury Public Library

Holland Landing Food Pantry

East Gwillimbury Public Library launched the Holland Landing Food Pantry to provide a “hand-up” to those who struggle with food sustainability. We know that low income and low literacy rates are inextricably linked and hungry children cannot learn. Working in cooperation with local agency, Network North, we source and provide 3-days’ supply of groceries to over 50 clients every month. Library staff are also on hand to encourage participation in our programs/services, so that clients can also have meaningful social interactions with the larger community.

Fort Frances Public Library

Rainy River District Library Cooperative

The Rainy River District Library Cooperative, a partnership between the Atikokan Public Library, Emo Public Library, Rainy River District School Board, Northwest Catholic District School Board, and the Seven Generations Education Institute, is an innovative partnership that sees education sector and library sector organizations come together to better serve their communities. Many students within the Rainy River District experience barriers to accessing public library services. These barriers are economic and geographic in nature. The Rainy River District Library Cooperative has removed these barriers and ensured that all students have equitable access to community-based learning supports. Together the project partners have made it possible for all students to access both a wide range of reading materials and a public library.

Hamilton Public Library

The Circuit 4.0 - Collaborative Creative Space

This project highlights how the Hamilton Public Library has used technology, innovation and partnerships to transform people's lives. The Circuit 4.0 has helped transform people's attitudes about what a public library can be and what it can do. Since the opening of the Circuit 4.0 the place has become an important downtown destination, attracting students, new Canadians, emerging artists and entrepreneurs.

Kingston Frontenac Public Library

Viva Voce and the Juvenis Festival – Building Youth Capacity in the Arts

Kingston Frontenac Public Library, Blue Canoe Productions and the Juvenis Festival have created a unique community partnership that provides greater access to the arts for youth, developing their artistic capacity and providing employment and employable skills development in the arts industry. This was achieved through a series of coffeehouse-style storytelling events, planned by and featuring local youth ages 13-30.

Markham Public Library

Online 3D Printer e-Learning Course and Certification

MPL’s open online 3D printing e-course is perhaps the first of its kind in North American public libraries. The benefits of this project include: reducing staff time delivering in person certification training, supporting green initiatives as there is no travel or paper, engaging customers in a unique learning environment, providing 24/7 access to content, and allowing customers to learn when it is most convenient.

Oshawa Public Library

Oshawa Healthy Kids Community Challenge

Oshawa Public Libraries participated as a key member in Oshawa’s Healthy Kids Community Challenge, a program that brings together community partners to address childhood obesity. Almost 30% of Ontario children and youth are overweight or obese. The Library’s innovative contributions to the project’s initiatives are sustainable and ongoing. Examples include: in-house and outreach library programs incorporating physical activity, growing fruits and vegetables with community garden partners; replacing sugary fruit juice and snacks with water and fruits and vegetables at Library events.

Ottawa Public Library

A la Carte Food Literacy Project

Ottawa Public Library’s à la carte food literacy project has created, through design and implementation, a two year project that brings the public library into the shared conversation around how people are connected to the food they eat and grow. Using non-traditional programming, in the library’s physical and virtual spaces and in surrounding neighbourhoods, Ottawa public library has successfully demonstrated that the library is a current, valued partner and community hub for accessible food literacy resources and programs.

Rideau Lakes Public Library


The MAPsack (Movement and Play) Project should be nominated for the Angus Mowat Award of Excellence because it equipped public libraries with resources to encourage families to get outside, move and play in nature. Through this Project, public libraries throughout the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville were given nature-themed backpacks (MAPsacks) filled with books, activities, gadgets, trail maps and Ontario Parks day passes as part of their collection. The MAPsack Project provided public libraries throughout Leeds and Grenville a united approach to help combat children’s inactivity and the growing disconnection to nature.

Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry County Library

Library Express – Alternative Service Delivery Depots

Library Express is an innovative service to provide access to library resources to underserved communities through public/private partnerships. The project helps to build the spirit of community through community partnerships and encourages residents' to use the Library by providing convenient, alternative access. All residents need is an SD&G County Library card!

Waterloo Public Library

Explore Play Learn @ WPL

Explore Play Learn @ WPL has been successful in building a comprehensive early learning strategy that helps families to understand the value of literacy play and engagement. The programs and dedicated Explore Play Learn spaces encourage families to visit the library together and spend time building individual and collective capacity. WPL is leveraging its spaces and extensive staff ability to create a change and provide opportunity for children and families as they get ready for school.

Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library


RSVP – Return Solution Via Post – solved a major customer service issue at virtually no cost to the library. This quick, efficient, and cost-effective solution, to a problem encountered by many libraries, enabled library customers to return items via Canada Post when the library was not open due to renovation.